Trinity’s College Board is to meet next week as scheduled, the College has confirmed, despite the closure of the College due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an email statement to The University Times, the College’s assistant secretary, Victoria Butler, wrote that the College’s Board “meeting is going ahead as scheduled on the 25th”.
“Members are encouraged to dial-in remotely”, she added. “Social distancing will be observed among those who have to be there to present.”
Trinity’s Board is its foremost decision-making body.
College has been closed since last Thursday, when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that all schools and colleges would close until March 29th. This measure was taken in response to growing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.
This followed two confirmed cases of coronavirus emerging in Trinity, a figure which has now risen to at least 10, according to Trinity’s website.
Controversy erupted early this week, when Trinity instructed students living in College accommodation – including campus, Halls, Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court – to vacate this week. Irish students were given just 24 hours to move out, while international students were allowed under 48 hours.
The University Times reported that international students were suffering “stress and anxiety” after Trinity’s decision, with several hitting out at the College for the lack of notice and one asking: “What the hell were they thinking?”
The following day, College backtracked on a number of its earlier directives, expanding the criteria under which residents are allowed to remain on campus and admitting it could not instruct students living in Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court – privately run complexes linked to Trinity – to leave.
Students living in these complexes, Trinity said, should read the instruction to leave as “strong advice”.
Students on campus and in Halls will be compensated on a pro rata basis for their early exit from accommodation. College says it will “offer full support” to students living in Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court if they pursue compensation.
The decision, Trinity says, “has been taken because large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus”.
In the email – which acknowledges that the situation “will be distressing” for those leaving campus tomorrow – Prendergast, Coleman, Murphy and Fazaeli added: “We are very sorry to have to take this action. We know it will be difficult for some of you but the situation is serious and it is vital to take drastic action now for your own safety and well-being and also to minimize the transmission rate of the virus as quickly as possible.”